Boating holidays booking agency Waterways Holidays is forecasting a boom year for narrowboat holidays in 2017. Managing director Nigel Richards said:
“We have had three fantastic seasons with increases of 20%, 15% and 22% for summer 2014, 2015 and 2016, and early sales for 2017 are excellent, Not only are volumes growing, but it is clear that more people are enjoying the canals as their main holiday, with a trend away from short breaks towards rental periods of seven, 10, 11 and 14 nights,”
- TV coverage
- The fall in the value of sterling
- That canals are seen as safe – away from airports, cities and resorts and authentic in that they are relaxing and close to nature
“With a top speed of four miles an hour, cruising Britain’s waterways is one of the most relaxing holidays there is,” Nigel continued. “And with more than 80 start points across the UK, a narrowboat holiday is within easy reach of home, whether travelling by car – in which case the boatyard provides free parking while you’re away – or train.”
UK holidaymakers are not the only people discovering the joys of Britain’s canals. Bookings from overseas visitors – especially from North America, Australasia and the Netherlands – are already up by 15% for 2017, another sterling slide effect. Nigel Richards says all this means that Britain’s canal holidays are set to boom for 2017.
“Boatyards are obviously feeling confident about 2017 business, with a three-fold increase in new boat builds this winter,” says Nigel. “And narrowboats are getting better in every way. Not just in terms of 21st century convenience like full central heating, Wifi or extra shower rooms with rainforest showers, or even multiple shower heads, but in terms of lifestyle with attractive interiors, multi-fuel stoves and mood lighting,” he added.
Narrowboats are also being built with more eco-friendly features, from ‘low-wash’ bulls and fuel-efficient engines to solar panels. Boats with hybrid diesel/ electric engines and even fully electric propulsion systems are also being introduced.